LONGVIEW - Losing the battle, but winning the war, Longview's Lobos lost to the Lufkin Panthers here Friday night, 12-3, but then won the coin toss that decided the District 14-AAAA playoff representative after the game was over.
Starting as a stalemate, the game as closely contused in the first half but then Lufkin took advantage of Longview's mistakes in the second half to move and take the lead plus the ball game.
On their second series of the game, Lufkin made a mild threat at the Lobo goal line as the Panthers started on their own 12 and drove to the Longview 21 before the Lobos' "Mean Green" defense put the halt to the drive.
Lufkin's Bob Harrisson and then came in to attempt a 38-yard field goal that was off to the left.
Big gainers in the drive for the Panthers were back to back runs by Greg Cannon and Delrick Brown that were god for 18 and 15 yards, respectively, on the first two plays of the drive.
Starting from their own 20, the Lobos' "Green Machine" then drove to the Lufkin 41, the big gainer being a 32-yard pass from quarterback Steve Gaddis to split end Lawrence (Dino) Watkins. Watkins made a fantastic catch as he latched into the ball with the bare end of his fingertips.
But then the Panthers held, and the Lobos had to punt. Jeff Stone got off a 18-yard punt to the Panther 27.
Trading punts until 4:17 was left in the half, the Lobos stopped Brown on a fourth and 13 situation for a seven-yard gain and took over on the Longview 23.
Fourteen plays later, the Lobos' Tommy Thomas kicked a 36-yard field goal with only 10 seconds left in the half to give the Lobos' a 3-0 lead.
From the Lufkin 34, Gaddis hit Thomas Cook for a screen pass that was good for 19 yards to set up Thomas' field goal.
Going into halftime with a last second score, it seemed as if the momentum had swung over to the Lobos.
But just as the second half started, the Lobos committed their first mistake. David Gibson ran back the Panthers' kickoff to the Lobo 26 and fullback Llewellyn Fambles took the handoff on the first play and dove up the middle for a two-yard gain.
Five plays later, aided by an offsides penalty against the Lobos, Lufkin's Greg Cannon scored on a two-yard run. Harrison's kick was blocked and left the score at 6-3, Lufkin, with 9:23 left in the third quarter.
After the kickoff, the Lobos gained seven yards on their first two plays from scrimmage, but on third down, Fambles bobbled a pitchout from Gaddis and had to fall on the loose ball for a eight-yard loss back at the 22.
Stone came in to punt and got off only a 21-yard punt to the Longview 43.
Nine plays later, Lufkin's Cannon went in standing up from nine yards out. The Panthers went for the two-point conversion, but Cannon was stopped just short of the flag when Lobo cornerback Thomas Cook knocked him out of bounds at the one.
Playing on their own end of the field most of the final quarter, the Lobo defense played outstanding football to keep the Panther offense from putting any more points on the board.
Stopping the Panther offense on the Lobo 21 and then on the Longview eight-yard line in the fourth quarter, the Lobo defense stayed on the field most of the second half.
Starting on their own 20 with 5:50 left in the game, the Lobos made one last determined effort to pull out the victory.
The drive as kept alive when a Panther player ran into Gaddis as he was punting on a fourth and 18 situation from the Lobo 12 to give the Longview squad new life.
Facing only a fourth and three situation after the fifteen-yard penalty, Gaddis stepped bad and hit wingback Ricky Watts with a 14-yard pass the carried to the Longview 41.
After Gaddis threw incomplete on first down, Cook tried a draw up the middle that was good for only a yard and then swept right end for nine yards on the next play for the first down at the Lufkin 49.
Then Gaddis hit tight end Henry Williams with a 20-yard bullet that was good to the Lufkin 29. Gaddis was tackled for a even-yard loss on the next play and then the Panthers were caught interfering with Watts on the next play that gave the Lobos a first down at the Lufkin 30.
But then disaster stuck the Lobos again in the form of a loose pigskin, as Cook swept left end for 13 yards but lost the ball at the end of his run and Lufkin's Lester Price came up with the ball.
Then the Panthers took over at their own 17 and drove to the Lobo 12 before time ran out.
With Lufkin gaining 273 yards to Longview's 163, the big story was Longview's mistakes and Lufkin's ability to take advantage of the miscues.
Lufkin could gain only 91 yards in the first half, but managed 172 yards in the second half to score all their points in the last half.
Longview ran up 114 yards in the first half and then could add only 49 yards in the second half as the defense spent most of the time on the field the last half.
Cannon was the leading ball carrier for the night with 86 yards in 18 carries and two touchdowns. The Lobos held high-vaunted Delrick Brown to 43 yards in 13 carries. Vell Brown carried for 72 yards in only five carries,a ll of which came in the last quarter.
Fambles led the Lobos with 25 yards in eight carries. Gaddis completed five of 20 passes for 98 yards. Leo McCoy rushed for only seven yards in seven carries to dash his hopes for a 1,000 yard season in the regular season action as he finished with 975 yards. McCoy injured a shoulder in workout this week and was not at full speed during the contest.
Although having their hopes for a perfect 10-0 season dashed and their Homecoming ceremonies ruined by the tough 12-3 loss, the Lobos still will represent District 14-AAAA in the bi-district contest against Plano.
Officials of the two schools will meet Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Canton, to decide where the contest will be played.